“One-man entertainment system” Aaron Heaton, better known by his stage name Heatbox, will bring catchy beats and sweet harmonies to the Chatfield Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Friday.
Heaton's unique performance combines technology with his own specific biology to create music.
“Everyone’s mouth is different,” he said. Heaton’s mouth can create 71 different sounds that he incorporates into his beatboxing and vocal percussion.
Combining those sounds with an electronic looping system, a few effects pedals, singing and a pinch of ukulele, Heaton creates one-of-a-kind music that he’s described as “James Brown meets the Beach Boys.”
Heaton’s ntroduction to beatboxing came through rapper and beatboxer Rahzel’s performances with The Roots. His interest in combining beatboxing with looping was accidental. He had an awakening when he stumbled upon a Loop Station RC-20 at Guitar Center one day. The Boss twin pedal helped him create his own live looping sound.
“(I) had no idea how much it would change my life,” he said.
Combining beatboxing, tight harmonies and looping, Heaton has performed on many stages and at festivals across the U.S. and overseas.
“I opened for Boys II Men,” he said. “That was cool.”
He seems just as proud of the times his music has connected with fans during intense personal moments. “I have sung my original songs for first dances at weddings and for people on their deathbed,” he said. “It's been a wild ride.”
Heaton has performed on national television shows like "America’s Got Talent" and "The Sing Off," though he’s a bit critical of “how fake” platforms like those can be.
“We would be put in front of a camera and told to ‘meet’ some other performers,” he said. “After we met them, they would tell us something like ‘OK, that was good, but we are going to do it again and this time with more energy!’ Then we would pretend to ‘meet’ the people again. It was dumb.”
Beside music, Heaton also is interested in programming video games and doing voiceover work. He’s excited about the potential of taking his voice acting to the dark side. “If I could play a villain in a cartoon,” he said, “that would be my dream come true.”
On the video game front, he’s promoting a project called Soul-Players which he said “is to make people laugh while connecting us all through the power of the internet and raising money for charity.” The concept combines elements from video games, improv acting, game shows and livestream interaction.
Heaton thinks that the programming he’s done for video games helps him understand the technical side of his live performances.
Also, “I hid a video game called Ninja Strike on my second album,” he said. “If you can find a Windows computer with a CD tray, you can play the game.”
As Heaton puts it, his show in Chatfield will help his audience “get funky and move their booties around.”
If you go
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8
Where: The Backstage at Chatfield Center for the Arts, 405 Main St. S., Chatfield
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 door, $15 livestream; www.chatfieldarts.org